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SOAR Pro Bono Project

Purpose of project

SOAR (SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery) is a program of the Social Security Administration that seeks to end homelessness through increased access to SSI/SSDI income supports. 

The SOAR Pro Bono Project is a partnership between the USC School of Law Pro Bono Program, the SC Bar, and the SC Department of Mental Health, in conjunction with many area providers.

Those experiencing homelessness--or are at risk of becoming homeless--and who also have either substance abuse or other medical issues can receive additional income and benefits through this program.  But many do not access these benefits because of barriers including:

  • lack of a mailing address
  • difficulty accessing medical records
  • difficulty navigating a complex system due to cognitive impairment

The SOAR Pro Bono Project utilizes the skills and efforts of volunteer lawyers and students to help potential recipients overcome these barriers.  This is an opportunity for volunteers to receive extensive training enabling them to:

  • interview the applicant
  • serve as the applicant’s representative
  • complete and review the application
  • write a medical summary report

Throughout the SOAR process, supportive services are available from the SC Department of Mental Health--SC SOAR State Team.

Requirements or qualifications

Training:  Seven online, free, self-paced training classes must be completed. Each class consists of a series of articles, short quizzes, and a practice case component. Group classes will be also conducted.

This project is intended to be a small team of serious volunteers (law students and lawyers) who are interested in addressing homelessness, have an affinity for administrative law, and have great attention for details.  After training, the time commitment is flexible.

Skills associated 

The following Core Skills may be associated with this particular volunteer opportunity. Not all tasks will contain all these skills. See the complete Core Competencies and Skills Inventory for more details.

  • Core Skill:  Oral Communication and Listening Abilities
  • Core Skill:  Writing Skills
  • Core Skill:  General Research Skills
  • Core Skill:  Critical Reading Abilities
  • Core Skill:  Task Organization and Management
  • Core Skill:  Professionalism

Next Steps?

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